Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Jenne Bram­mer

The north­ern cat­tle in­dus­try faces ma­jor un­cer­tainty after one of the re­gion’s big­gest live ex­porters was is­sued with a show-cause no­tice by the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources.

In­ter­na­tional Live­stock Ex­ports, re­spon­si­ble for about 70 per cent of live ex­ports from Broome, was given the show-cause no­tice be­cause for­mer Emanuel Ex­ports boss Gra­ham Daws is a ma­jor share­holder.

Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Emma White said if the Govern­ment pro­ceeded with fur­ther steps of sus­pend­ing or can­celling ILE’s li­cence, the eco­nomic im­pact could be as dev­as­tat­ing as the 2011 live ex­port ban to In­done­sia.

“It would have ma­jor ram­i­fi­ca­tions for pas­toral­ists, the whole in­dus­try and re­gion — pas­toral­ists are un­der­stand­ably ex­tremely ner­vous at the mo­ment,” she said.

DAWR is­sued the show-cause no­tice upon con­cerns ILE could be in­flu­enced to sup­ply Emanuel’s tra­di­tional mar­kets in the Mid­dle East, fol­low­ing the can­cel­la­tion of Emanuel’s li­cence.

ILE man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Stan­ton said his com­pany re­sponded to the show-cause no­tice by Mon­day’s dead­line with a 60-page sub­mis­sion, in­clud­ing ref­er­ences.

The sub­mis­sion stated it was not pos­si­ble for ILE to ex­port sheep to the Mid­dle East given it needed to have in place an ap­proved ex­port pro­gram to sup­ply those mar­kets, which would re­quire ap­proval by DAWR. Mr Stan­ton, whose busi­ness shares an of­fice with Emanuels in West Perth, said also sup­port­ing his com­pany’s case was the re­quire­ment for any ex­porter to be part of the ESCAs sup­ply chain to those mar­kets, which ILE was not and would also re­quire DAWR ap­proval.

He said ILE had, as re­cently as July, sent a small num­ber of fat­tailed sheep to the Mid­dle East, but had since closed that sup­ply chain after the client wrapped up its breed­ing busi­ness in WA.

“While we are con­fi­dent we have clearly demon­strated ILE can­not be in­flu­enced, this ac­tion by DAWR makes us very ner­vous,” Mr Stan­ton said. “We have 20,000 cat­tle in the sys­tem for our sched­ule of ship­ments. If there is some prob­lem this would cause ma­jor is­sues for the wel­fare of an­i­mals and would not be in the best in­ter­est of the in­dus­try.”

“We feel it’s ha­rass­ment by the min­is­ter and de­part­ment. Maybe they are just tick­ing boxes but it makes us feel very ner­vous.”

ILE ex­ports or ar­ranges pro­cess­ing for about 130,000 cat­tle a year, most from the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara and are ex­ported via Broome and Fre­man­tle to South-East Asia. It also sup­plies a small num­ber of sheep to South-East Asian mar­kets.

Mr Stan­ton said ILE had made sub­stan­tial cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in the north­ern re­gion, in­clud­ing a ma­jor feed­lot in Broome, and reg­u­larly bought “un­mar­ketable” cat­tle then im­proved qual­ity.

The demise of Emanuel Ex­ports, WA’s big­gest live ex­porter, started with a show-cause no­tice is­sued in May, fol­low­ing hor­rific footage aboard a voy­age to the Mid­dle East.

Its li­cence was sub­se­quently sus­pended, then can­celled.

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